Fox News Weather Center

Tropical System May Impact East Coast

An area of disturbed weather hovering near Yucatan, Mexico, to start the week could track along part of the Atlantic Seaboard after affecting Florida in the coming days.

The system is likely to produce a swath of heavy rain from parts of the Florida Peninsula into portions of the mainland South this week. Depending on the track of the system, a dose of heavy rain is possible in portions of the eastern mid-Atlantic and New England toward the weekend.

Drenching showers and locally gusty thunderstorms were affecting western Cuba, the Keys and the eastern coastline of Yucatan, Mexico, Monday midday. Rainfall will gradually propagate northeastward over the next couple of days impacting more of central and South Florida.

According to Tropical Weather Expert Dan Kottlowski, "There will be a window of opportunity for the system to develop tropically during the middle of the week as it begins to drift northeastward."

Kottlowski stated that strong upper atmospheric winds, which are currently hindering development, could drop off enough to allow more of a circulation near the surface of the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

Tropical systems are storms that inhabit the lowest part of the atmosphere. Since they are warm weather storms, they can strengthen over warm water and tend to weaken over land or cold water. Strong winds near the top of the storm can also disrupt development or tear a tropical storm or hurricane apart.

Indications are that steering winds will guide the system, whether it has fully developed tropically or not, on a general northeastward path during the second half of the week into the weekend.

The first name on the list of tropical storms and hurricanes for the Atlantic Basin 2013 season is "Andrea."

While the exact path will depend on how much development occurs, rainfall along parts of the Atlantic Seaboard from Florida to New England could be enhanced as the system moves along.

"It is possible this system never has enough time to become a well-organized tropical storm or hurricane," Kottlowski said.

The first stage of development of a warm core would be a tropical depression. However, even if the system were to reach that phase, it does not guarantee that a tropical storm or hurricane would follow.

Even weak tropical or sub-tropical systems can bring tremendous rainfall, on the order of several inches or more. Weak systems can also bring locally severe thunderstorms and dangerous surf conditions.

According to Expert Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity, "The system is likely to pick up forward speed later in the week and over the weekend, which should work to shorten the duration of the rainfall and could lessen problems caused by flooding farther north."

Flooding is a concern in the southeastern corner of the nation, where slow movement is likely. However, some areas could handle a dose of drenching rain, as long as the rain does not continue for days on end.